Educational Institutions

Astronaut Scholarship Foundation Inc.

  • KENNEDY SPACE CENTER , FL
  • www.astronautscholarship.org

Mission Statement

Through the leadership and inspiration of America's astronauts, the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation (ASF) seeks to aid the United States in retaining its world leadership in science and technology by providing college scholarships for the very best and brightest students pursuing science, technology, engineering or math degrees while educating the general public on the importance of STEM education.

Main Programs

  1. Scholarship Program
  2. Mentor Program
Service Areas

Self-reported

Florida

ASF works with partnering universities throughout the United States. The universities must meet certain criteria for consideration which includes being highly ranked amongst top schools providing STEM undergraduate programs and offering research opportunities for undergraduates.Additionally, through the diversity of the internet, adults and students everywhere are able to access the history told first hand of space flight through our website. Several programs and educational seminars are held throughout the year to provide a glimpse into the past space programs, the future of space and innovation, and a chance to learn from our scholars what new frontiers are being explored.

ruling year

1985

Principal Officer since 2013

Self-reported

Tammy Knowles-Sudler

Keywords

Self-reported

Hall of Fame, Autograph, Astronauts, scholarships, STEM

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Also Known As

Scholarships

EIN

59-2448775

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Scholarships, Student Financial Aid, Awards (B82)

Engineering (U42)

Undergraduate College (4-year) (B42)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Overview

Self-reported by organization

In 2015, the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation achievements included:1. Awarded thirty-eight scholarships to upperclassmen at partnering universities valued up to $10,000 each.2. The Astronaut Scholars were introduced to Astronaut Scholar Meet-Ups in their local areas to promote collaboration and networking opportunities.3. In conjunction with fifteen partnering universities, presented education seminars to more than 5000 middle school through college age students. The education seminars focused on life skills (leadership, team work, perseverance, etc.) and how they are vital in the success of STEM.4. Piloted the Innovative Leaders Mentor Program. Thirty-five scholars have been paired up with astronauts, executive leadership and alumni for guidance in coaching in their professional development. 5. The Board of Directors were successful in having 95% Board giving participation. For 201, ASF will strive to accomplish the following:1. To increase the university partnership by two; bringing the total to thirty-three.2. Enhance the Innovative Leaders Mentor Program to include professional development and leadership training by an experienced coach.3. Increase the scholars participation in panel discussions and lectures amongst younger demographics.

Programs

Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Program 1

Scholarship Program

More than 38 prestigious merit-based scholarships are awarded annually across the country to the top undergraduate upperclassmen at participating universities. Each scholarship recipient receives financial support up to $10,000 to offset the cost of tuition, housing, or research conferences. The criteria and selection process for the scholarship is extremely vigorous. ASF partners with some of the top STEM universities in the country, including UCF, and nominees must be nominated by their faculty. The universities have an internal review board that screens at least eight nominees and provides ASF with the top two. ASF has an internal Scholar Selection Committee comprised of astronauts, academia, and scholar alumni who select the top one to award at each university. In addition to having top grades, students are reviewed on their current research in selected field, innovation, creativity, ambition, and leadership. Working with universities, students receive their scholarship awards at their university from an astronaut during an education seminar that is open to the student body, surrounding schools, and general public. To date, ASF has awarded more than $4 million in scholarships.

Category

Education, General/Other

Population(s) Served

Other Named Groups

Budget

$410,000.00

Program 2

Mentor Program

The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation awards the best and brightest STEM students in the nation. These great minds and vast talent could be limited if the right outlets are not found or the path-changing doors not opened. The transition from school to professional future endeavors is often a rocky one and our available mentor pool of talent overflows with successful business and industry leaders as well as the scholar alumni who have successfully launched their life's quest into the professional realm. The insight passed from mentor to mentee will propel these scholars in the right direction to fully recognize and utilize their world-changing potential. The structure of the Mentor Leadership initiative is based on the knowledge and wisdom shared in order to promote successful researchers, professionals and world changers. Age and experience fuel the mentor in advising and steering the up-and-coming professional with knowledge and wisdom that only time and that past experience can provide. Through this program, we offer the opportunity to build peer support, friendships, courses on professional development and guidance to help the students become successful professionals. At a minimum, the pair communicates monthly for one year that typically includes guidance for transition into workforce, networking connections and feedback offered by the ""seasoned"" executive, astronaut or astronaut scholar. The impact the Astronaut Scholarship has on the students starts with the monetary award and continues into their careers and beyond as contacts are made, professional pathways followed and successes are reached; this is paid forward/given back as the mentees become the new mentors.

Category

Education, General/Other

Population(s) Served

Budget

$40,000.00

Charting Impact

Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

  1. What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
    Since the inception of the Foundation in 1984, Astronauts have inspired America's youth to become explorers, entrepreneurs, researchers, scientists and engineers. The science and technology fields are critical to the success of America for the long-term. To date, ASF has played a role in this effort through educational events and lectures and by providing prestigious merit-based scholarships. As ASF looks at the next 3 years, the goals are as follows:1. Increase the number of merit-based scholarships awarded from 36 to 60.2. Implement and execute a fully robust Innovative Leader Mentor Program utilizing astronauts, executive leadership and scholar alumni. The focus of the program is to continue the scholar's workforce development and guidance needed for success post graduation.3. Provide education and inspiration to the general public, with an emphasis on STEM, using the astronauts and Astronaut Scholars as advocates. The impact we have on our scholars is shared by a 2011 recipient Zoe H.: "I received my award in 2011 while I was an undergraduate at Miami University of Ohio where I studied Zoology & French. Currently, I am working towards my PhD. in Neuroscience at The Ohio State University where I research the role of innate stem cells in repair after spinal cord injury. On the side, I also work as a scientific consultant for a variety of biotechnology investors and start-ups in Ohio and New York. My most recent project is helping to develop a start-up company that will offer a suite of mobile applications to assist in the fine motor skill rehabilitation of stroke victims. It is absolutely no exaggeration to say that I would not be where I am today, and I would not have such a vision for my future, if it were not for ASF. I have received outstanding mentorship from both ASF alumni and staff, and each person with whom I've interacted has taught me a life lesson that has directly contributed to my success. ASF is more than just a scholarship - it is a life-changing network of individuals who help each other, in order to better help the world. " To date, our scholar alumni have more than 40 patents created and published more than 850 papers. We look to continue to increase these numbers in the years to come and have scholars in key innovative positions across STEM fields.
  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    For the two years, ASF has been undergoing a transition from a transactional organization to becoming one that is donor centric and focused on the mission. This approach is not only valuable for our donors, but also our scholar alumni and current scholars. To this end, ASF is building opportunities to engage individuals, foundations corporations that are a "win-win" for impacting the workforce, encouraging innovation, and growing the number of scholarships awarded. We have built a Work Force Initiative that enables companies to engage the scholars directly and share with them the research opportunities available as they continue their careers. Additionally, we identify people in desirable leadership roles to coach and guide the scholars and are actively increasing the number of people who know about ASF, the scholars, and what we are striving to accomplish. As we look ahead over the next year, ASF is in a strong position to increase the corporate support by hiring a team member who is focused on building corporate relationships. We are working with current supporters to meet their connections who may have a vested interested in the mission of ASF. To date, we have been successful in growing the supporters and revenues in 2015 through this approach. We will continue to streamline other activities to allow ASF staff to focus on that which is successful.
  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    We have 31 partnering universities who are active in helping to achieve the merit-based process for scholar selections. Some of our corporate partnerships include: Jacobs, Airscan, Embraer, Lockheed Martin, Wreyford Foundation, Texas Mason's/ Tranquility Lodge, Delaware North, and Kennedy Space Center Visitor's Complex.At the heart of our organization are the astronauts and the individuals involved with ASF. We employ eight staff that are dedicated to supporting our scholars and providing opportunities for the general public to learn, question and be inspired. We have more than 100 astronauts from every space program supporting ASF in various ways, as well as more than 200 scholar alumni who are still active in some capacity in giving back.As we continue into the next three years, ASF will continue to garner partnerships across the country that will provide opportunities to inspire the next generation while supporting the scholars of today.
  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    ASF will continue to track and document each scholar's progress through the years to demonstrate the impact of the ASF Scholarship Program. Additionally, the interactions, benefits and outcomes for the Innovative Leader Mentor Program will be tracked to analyze the number of internships offered, job placement, innovative collaborations and other networking benefits that have transpired from the mentor relationship. ASF will keep track of the number of students and general public that participate in lectures, educational events and online educational video postings.
  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    During the last 12 months, we have increased the number of partnering universities from 27 to 32 and increased the number of scholarships from 31 to 38. This increase has allowed for the opportunity to grow the number of volunteers involved in our Scholar Selection Committee and provide deeper engagement opportunities. The Innovative Leader Mentor Program began as a "pilot" project in 2014 and has been fully implemented in 2015.In regards to public education and inspiration, we have expanded our Scholar Tech Conference to public guests of Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex and work with various Central Florida STEM groups to provide an opportunity for high school students to participate. To provide similar inspiration throughout the country, we partner with 12-15 universities to provide an education seminar with an astronaut and scholar. In 2015, we are standardizing a "Best Practices" model based on Texas A & M that will maximize the number of students who are able to participate and learn from their heroes.
Service Areas

Self-reported

Florida

ASF works with partnering universities throughout the United States. The universities must meet certain criteria for consideration which includes being highly ranked amongst top schools providing STEM undergraduate programs and offering research opportunities for undergraduates.Additionally, through the diversity of the internet, adults and students everywhere are able to access the history told first hand of space flight through our website. Several programs and educational seminars are held throughout the year to provide a glimpse into the past space programs, the future of space and innovation, and a chance to learn from our scholars what new frontiers are being explored.

Funding Needs

As an organization, ASF has the following top five needs in no particular order of importance:1. Volunteers to serve on program and special event committees for activities locally and nationwide.2. Annual and restricted funding for the Scholarship Program; $375,000 enables ASF to provide a total of sixty scholarships which now include the Innovative Leaders Mentor Program. The scholarships help to build confidence, provide validation for the work ethic and research, offer an opportunity to network amongst like-minded and driven peers and provide a mentor for life-changing professional development. 3. Endowment funding to ensure sustainability of the Astronaut Scholarship Program for years to come. 4. Skilled web designers and writers to provide in-kind support to enhance ASF's web presence and online education. 5. $5,000 funding support for professional development and training for staff.

Accreditations

External Reviews

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Financials

Financial information is an important part of gauging the short- and long-term health of the organization.

ASTRONAUT SCHOLARSHIP FOUNDATION INC
Fiscal year: Jan 01-Dec 31
Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant.

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Astronaut Scholarship Foundation Inc.

Leadership

NEED MORE INFO ON THIS NONPROFIT?

Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2014, 2014 and 2014
  • Board Chair, Board Co-Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Community
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Principal Officer

Tammy Knowles-Sudler

BIO

Ms. Knowles brings to the organization nearly a decade of experience leading organizational growth for non-profit start-ups, developing major gift campaigns, and cultivating successful community outreach strategies. Ms. Knowles gained her work experience with national organizations, local mid-size non-profits, and by leading a start-up organization. She utilizes her skills to continue expanding the impact on people with an interest in STEM education.

STATEMENT FROM THE Principal Officer

" The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation (ASF) is truly unique in several regards. ASF was started by America's Heroes and continues to be led by astronauts who define innovation, exploration and entrepreneurial spirit. They instill these values and an expectation for greatness in the college students who become Astronaut Scholars. Unlike other organizations that provide scholarships, the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation maintains a life-long engagement with the Astronaut Scholars. A 1987 scholar serves as the Vice-Chair for the Foundation while scholars from 1986 thru 2014 are now participating in the pilot mentor program. Additionally, philanthropy and the "give-back" mentality is instilled from the moment the scholar receives the award. Since 2009, scholars have given back more than $125,000 to help fund the next generation of Astronaut Scholars. During a time when America has seen a decline in its leadership in science and math, these young minds provide inspiration and hope for a stronger, better America for tomorrow. These prestigious scholars are providing innovative advancements in a multitude of areas including healthcare, energy, aerospace and the defense industry. "

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

Dan Brandenstein

Astronaut, Shuttle

Term: May 2014 - May 2017

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

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BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?


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BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?